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Lily Zerihun, a Daughter of Ethiopian Immigrants, Admitted to 11 Medical Schools

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Lily Zerihun’s parents emigrated to the United States from Ethiopia, and Lily was born soon after. After graduating from Duke University in 2016, she has been admitted to 11 medical schools.

Lily Zerihun knows that health care is a privilege not many can afford – and she wants to dedicate her life to changing that.

Being admitted to 11 medical schools gets her off to a great start.


Lily Zerihun, 23, of Greensboro, graduated from Duke University (Durham, N.C.) in 2016. Her parents emigrated to the United States from Ethiopia, and Lily was born soon after. She was raised with a keen understanding of how different her life was from the life she might have led if she had been born in her parents’ home country.

“Growing up I was always very aware of health-care issues in my own family, including people who had to come to the U.S. for treatment from Ethiopia,” she said. “Or people who, if they lived in the U.S., could have been treated, but had to go without.”

In the back of her mind, Lily wanted to have a role in alleviating the imbalance in global health.

 And it’s not just the difference between health care in the United States and in countries such as Ethiopia. It’s also the disparities right here in the United States.

“I want to work in some service capacity,” she said. “Being able to directly impact communities in the U.S. and around the world that don’t have access to health care – I want to be someone who makes a difference in that.”

Lily Zerihun is already on her way to accomplishing that with her 11 medical school offers.